Under the Dome: JFHoops Draft Grades Pt. II

A familiar sight.

A familiar sight.

He swears he’s going to review all of the JFHoops squads.  He’s 2/3 of the way towards fulfilling his promise.  I previously estimated that he wouldn’t be done until the conclusion of the season.  I’m moving that estimated completion time up to the All-Star Break.  I’m really looking forward to reading my “draft recap” when my team is 7-4 and my best players are out for the season with devastating injuries.  Without further delay since it’s best to get these out so close in time to the draft, Pt. II of Under the Dome: JFHoops Draft Grades:

A1 – keepers Lillard $24, Rubio $24

Last season keeper options -Kobe ($48), Gordon ($22), Horford ($38), Favors ($6), Bynum ($60 hahaha)

First off I need to point out that for the 2nd year in a row A1 takes down the most original and exciting team name. Well done. I don’t know if it’s just him saying he’s #1, if he’s grade A, if he likes that steak sauce, or if it’s from the hit song Mercy when Kanye is rapping “Grad A, A1, chain the color of Akon”. These are the things that keep me up at night (Editor’s Note:  That and Obama).

A1 had, despite a fairly high general basketball and NBA IQ, a horrendous season last year (similar to the Snowman). A lot of it had to do with taking No Knees Bynum for $50, or 1/4th of his budget. Awful. His keeper options, besides Rubio and Lillard, were pretty much non existent: Kobe was expensive before he tore his ACL, Eric Gordon is perennially injured, Derrick Favors is an unproven commodity (granted at a bargain basement price of $6), and Al Horford is solid if not spectacular $14.  I don’t like any of them more than either of his 2 keepers.

Guards/SF –keepers Lillard ($24) and Rubio ($24), Mayo ($11), Caldwell-Pope ($1), Terry ($1), D. Wright ($1), Sefolosha ($1), Budinger ($1)

Two main things here – #1, Lillard and Rubio at $24 each are absolute steals. Each of them would go a minimum of $15-20 more in the open market in this auction, based on both Yahoo and ESPN projections as well as Jerk tendencies, including my own, to over pay for coveted players. I am a huge fan of Lillard. He is a scoring PG that still has all the other qualities you want in a 1. He gets you plenty of assists along with points and threes, his percentages aren’t going to kill you and he doesn’t turn the ball over that much. He’s the floor leader of a surprisingly hot Blazers team and I would expect him to be kept again next year. He’s a top 20 player for ½ of the price. Similarly with Rubio, A1 got him cheap and was smart to get him last year when he did. Assists, steals, some points and rebounds for a guard are somewhat offset by low threes and high turnovers (but the TO’s are fair given his usage rate per game).

#2 Unfortunately, given A1’s first selection (more below) along with a couple of bigs, he was left with a bare cupboard after those two at the guard and wing positions. Mayo is a solid if not spectacular 2 guard. He’s bounced around from Memphis to Dallas to Milwaukee and has been overshadowed so far this year by the general awful play of the Bucks. Yet he is still averaging right around his career numbers in pts, assists and rebounds (15,3,3), so to ad lib everyone’s favorite mustachioed failure of a football coach, he is who we thought he is. The rest of the guards aren’t worth mentioning. I don’t know if Caldwell Pope has seen the light of day and I’m pretty shocked that A1 still has him on his team. Terry is washed up, Sefolosha is a good “glue guy” which doesn’t translate well to fantasy, Budinger is constantly hurt, and Dorrell Wright had one good year 2 years ago and hasn’t been heard from since.

Bigs – Lebron ($85), David Lee ($22), Blake Griffin ($23), Koufos ($1), Gallinari ($2), Blatche ($1)

Here’s the rub. LeBron cost A1 42.5% of his fat stack, and time will tell if it was worth it. He is an all-world, stat-filling superstar in real life as well as in fantasy. Would A1 have been better off with 4 $20 guys and dumping some of those $1 scrubs? I don’t know what the cost benefit analysis is there but clearly the ceiling with LeBron is higher than anyone save Durant at this juncture. David Lee and Blake Griffin are very different players in real life but give you similar double double stats with high FG%.  Lee is a much better free throw shooter and passer than Griffin but plays less defense than I do.  Griffin, on the other hand, lacks Lee’s offensive attributes but is a solid defender producing blocks and steals.  These are two imperfect players who complement each other rather well.  Each player is a top 30 fantasy guy. Blatche and Koufos have played much better than their draft day price due to opportunity as well as injuries to other players, but alas A1 dropped those fools early on.  Gallinari at $2 (I was out of sheckles by the time this stash player I like was called to auction) could be a big take down if he comes back at all this year. Rumors abound that he might come back in January or might miss the season. He’s worth hanging onto at any rate.

Similarly to some other Jerk teams, A1 went all in with some expensive elite players but has a legit core of LeBron, Lee, Griffin, Rubio and Lillard. He was lacking threes which prompted him to make some FA pickups in Danny Green, Martell Webster and Jodie Meeks which were solid moves to address that shortcoming. Other than Rubio his top guys are all durable (Lee and Griffin each suffered fluke injuries that are highly unlikely to repeat) so that shouldn’t be an issue. This is high risk high reward at its finest and I respect the aggressiveness.

Grade – B+

Now for a couple of goons.

58 – keepers (Rose $19 and Gasol $41)

Last season’s additional options (Rondo $47, P. Gasol $40, Barnes $2, D. Green $1, Howard $58, Lowry ($31)

58 was coming off a hot 4-17 season last year. He was in quite a battle for the bottom with Dazzle (4-16-1), A1 (5-15-1), Frenchy (6-15), and Snowman (3-18). What a group of straight jokers. Put those guys in a room, have an auction draft, and watch Kevin Garnett go for $55.

58 had some decent keeper options. D Rose at $19 was a no brainer (his 2nd ACL tear is obviously terrible for such a young dynamic player; the guy must have rubbed elbows with Softness walking through an airport or something). After that he decided to go with Marc Gasol at $41 which was solid play even with his price tag. Obviously 58 can’t see the future but as of this writing the younger Gasol was out indefinitely with an MCL sprain. Oops. Aside from that, Gasol has career averages of 13.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.8 assists, 1.6 bpg, 0.9 spg, .517 FG%, and .751 FT%. He was ranked #7 overall in Yahoo at the end of last season and is one of the best all-around centers in the league because of his versatility. His $41 price tag was high but it’s less than what he would have gotten in the auction market. His other options from last year were Danny Green at $1, Harrison Barnes at $2, the OTHER Gasol at $40, fellow Nova alum Lowry at $31, and D Howard only because his auction price was apropos at $58. Rondo wasn’t worth keeping at $47 given his destroyed knee. Barnes and Green are complimentary players not worth keeping, the price tag on the elder Gasol and Howard was not worth the return, and Lowry is a decent player but M. Gasol at $41 is much better VALUE (his favorite word). Let’s hope Gasol doesn’t come back so 58’s playoff dreams are smashed.

Guards/SF – Bledsoe ($15), Lawson ($20), Nash ($9), Waiters ($5), Green ($5), Evans ($8), Ginobili ($6), Henderson ($5), Bradley ($2), Porter Jr ($3) (Rose – keeper, $19)

This is an interesting group of guards and 2/3’s. With the demise of Nash (RIP to one of the greatest PGs of all time) and Rose hurt, 58 doesn’t have a true passing PG in his group. Lawson, Bledsoe and Evans are all scoring, attack the paint PGs (Evans is a SF on New Orleans but in reality is a Guard) who don’t average high assists which will hurt him in that category. He also is lacking in the 3’s department as well. The prices are fair for the above, as no one would have predicted Nash would be THIS bad/injured, and he got his boy Danny Green back for a few extra dollars. Bledsoe is a solid all around player, one of the better perimeter defenders in the league, and with Dragic taking some of the PG work away from him he won’t have the pressure associated with running a team. I love Ty Lawson, hands down the fastest PG end to end in the league and even with losing some key guys that team has a strong offense. Waiters is HORRENDOUS. He can’t shoot to save his life. Bradley was a worth investment until he lost the job to Jordan Crawford. With Rose hurt 58’s PG roster is pretty thin.

Bigs – Al Horford $32, Ilyasova $16, Randolph $13, M. Gasol (keeper – $41).

58 went light on the bigs which is surprising given his assumed fascination with big goons. Gasol and Horford are elite players, which is a good start, but there is a lack of depth here made all the more apparent with Gasol’s injury. Randolph is aging but still close to a consistent double double guy. Ilyasova is a versatile player but I thought this price tag was rather high, given the glut of bigs on Milwaukee (Larry Sanders, Henson, Pachulia, Caron Butler, and Delfino).

Overall, given the lack of quality bigs, true PGs for assists and 3’s, and potentially turnovers, I see this team punting 2-3 categories per week.

Grade: B-

Lion – keepers (Harden $48, T. Young $5); Last season options (Lawson $50, Jefferson $60, Hawes $1, LeBron $85, West $6).

Lion had a really good team last year, as evidence by his 2ndbasketball title. He had a myriad of options, and decided to take one high priced keeper and one low cost keeper. It’s interesting that LeBron could have been kept for $85, the exact amount that A1 took him for in the auction draft. Hindsight being 20/20 he could have kept an all 76ers crew given how well Hawes has been playing. But Harden at $48 is at least $20-30 less than what he would have gone for at auction. Young is a good versatile all around player who has elevated his game on a depleted 76ers roster.

Guards/SF – Paul $66, Nelson $5, Allen $1, Stephenson $1, V. Carter $1, Dunleavy $1, Harden $48 – keeper

Bigs – Aldridge $50, Boozer $7, Scola $2, Varajao $4, Bogut $6, Delfino $1, Dudley $1

I lumped these together because the Lion went balls to the wall. Between Harden, Paul and Aldridge, that’s 72% of his budget for 3 (elite) players. Again, this is risky because you need all 3 to stay healthy to be effective. So far, so good. That said, the Lion used his increasingly growing NBA acumen (I would imagine it’s a combination of going to 76ers game with A1 and talking to me on GChat nonstop about the NBA) to get Stephenson, Bogut, Varajao, and Scola at bargain basement prices as well as T Young for $5. I had no idea Stephenson would be this versatile, he was always a solid 2-defender but this year has shown he can move the ball, score in spots, and get boards without any plays being drawn for him. I was always high on Bogut and must have zoned out when he got picked because I don’t know why I didn’t grab him.

So far it’s paid off to the tune of a 3-1 record. I also appreciate the ode to my last name that has been part of Assini’s team for the past two seasons. Quite flattering.

Overall grade – A-

Sir Softness – kept Jimmy Butler for $1 and Evan Turner for $5. He could have kept Ryan Anderson for $26, Durant for $86, Varajao for $6, Isaiah Thomas for $10, Chris Paul for $83.

Guards/SF – Monta Ellis ($23), Victor Oladipo ($10), Rondo ($19), Chandler ($10), Felton ($9), Afflalo ($4), McLemore ($4), Butler (keeper, $1), Turner (keeper, $6)

I will say, off the bat, Softness’s team is good. It’s taking me a while to write this because I’m so used to typing on a Mexican keyboard, I can’t type on an American keyboard anymore. I’m completely serious. There are about 10 keys that are different, and my mind is wired to type a certain way, and it just doesn’t work with these third world keyboards. Maybe that’s why they call them MexiCANT’S.  But I digress. Ellis at $23 is solid, he will be the #2 scorer for a decent Mavs team with no threat to his role unless Calderon or Dalembert become go to scorers (unlikely). Oladipo is a STUD. A multi purpose beast. $10 is a hijacking for this guy, if Steve doesn’t keep him I’d be shocked. He can play 3 positions, plays top notch defense on the perimeter, can distribute the ball, and can drive to the hoop and initiate contact to get to the free throw line. I have no idea why he didn’t go first overall. Anthony Bennett is a bust so far. Wilson Chandler is another stat filler, especially with Iguodala gone and Gallinari hurt. He can score, gets steals, a couple of threes, some rebounds and assists, and his FG% is solid. I like Steve’s keepers for the VALUE that he got with them, it was a much better decision than keeping Durant or Paul, who ended up going for less than Steve would have kept them at. McLemore shows a lot of promise as a starting SG on a young team, Felton is an NBA starting PG (Editor’s Note: This is such a funny description.  Of course he’s an “NBA starting PG,” all of these guys are “NBA [fill in position here]’s,” that’s why they’re being drafted in a fantasy league.  Nice self-defining term Trombone.), and Afflalo is going to fill the stat sheet on a bad team. There aren’t any other teams in our fantasy league with guards as good as these. Whenever Rondo comes back he is a triple double machine. $19 is about $10 less than his value, so Steve got a steal here assuming he comes back and the Celtics don’t pull a D Rose and keep him on the shelf while they try to tank for a better pick for the whole season. Tough call there by C’s management.

Bigs – Jefferson ($46), Gasol ($27), Monroe ($17), West ($14), AK 47 ($5), Olynyk ($1)

First off, Steve had $4 unused. Poor form. Secondly, this is a solid group of bigs who all basically average a double double with the exception of Ak 47 and Olynyk. Jefferson is the top post player in the NBA. It’s no contest. All the other good bigs either love hanging on the perimeter (Dirk, Love), or are pick and roll finishers and fast break leapers (Griffin). Jefferson is an old school, back to the basket post player who loves sitting on the left block and doing work. He was expensive, but is a top 15 fantasy player when healthy, which is usually. His defense, like mine, is non existent but from a fantasy perspective who cares. Gasol at $27 is risky. He is on a declining team, is 33 years old, and has been dealing with injuries for the past 3 years. I’d pass, especially on that price. Monroe is great if he can shoot free throws. West is a low end fantasy PF who can put up 14 and 8 rebounds in his sleep. AK 47 will be coming off the bench but still can play 4 positions and performs well. Olynyk is a wild card.

Overall I’m impressed with Steve’s haul. Despite his physical limitations he ended up with a championship caliber squad. He lacks 3pt shooting and high end assists from his guards but those are the only glaring weaknesses from his draft and keepers.

Grade A-.


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